Ten Tips for Coping With Shelter in Place

As a writer, it is my job to be introspective, to observe, comment upon, and analyze. I feel it my duty to create works that act as a mirror for society, human interactions, and emotion. But Shelter-in-Place is so foreign that I’m finding it challenging to write.

Like many of you, I am fighting feelings of helplessness and depression. I long for human interaction, closeness, touch. I miss patting my friends on the back as we laugh over some silly joke, twirling on the dance floor goofily between hugs, and placing a hand on a gal pal’s arm in comfort.

As humans, we were not built for isolation. Remember that study from your reading in Psych 101? Back in the thirteenth century, the German king, Frederick II, conducted an experiment to discover what language children would grow up to speak if never spoken to. So King Frederick took babies from their mothers at birth and placed them in the care of nurses who were forbidden to speak to them. But a second rule was imposed, as well: the nurses were not allowed to touch the infants.  Frederick’s experiment was an absolute failure, because every baby died. Without touch and tender words they couldn’t thrive.

We all need connection. So what to do now when that basic human need is denied us? I have found the following things help.

1) Avoid the news. It will only depress you. Read just enough to stay informed.newsdepress

2) Limit your TV watching. toomuchtv

3) Put your favorite music on. Dance around the living room. musicnoteroad

4) Do some activities that don’t need much brainpower such as cleaning. I find toilet scrubbing a good one. happytoilet

6) Get outside. If you live in a house, weed, plant, mow, edge, blow. If you live in an apartment, sweep the walk.  gardener

7) Keep to your normal routine as closely as possible. I still shower early, do my hair and get dressed in the morning.

8) Give yourself a makeover. Try a new hair or makeup style. Get goofy and have fun with it. Laugh at your own silly antics! Bad-Hair-Crazy-Tattoos-Clown-Hair

8) Go for a walk.

9) Find a workout  video and dance along. Zumba Workout

9) Go for a drive and crank the tunes: pretend you are a rebellious teen behind the wheel. Shake it Off Video

10) Do art. Paint, color, sketch. Make a dream board.

Any more ideas out there? I’d love to hear them. Blessings for healthy minds and bodies, dear ones!

About Laurie: The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

A Hungering Muse

When the words are stilted, like a stubbed toe limp or a stunted tree seeking sky on a windswept cliff,  quotes  help me summon the muse.

muse in ear

Piers Anthony said: “Keep writing, because not only does practice improve skill, it gives you more chances to score on the market.”

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William Shakespeare: “O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.”

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Ray Bradbury’s advice is this. “To feed your Muse, then, you should always have been hungry about life since you were a child. If not, it is a little late to start.”

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“Finish what you’re writing.  Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.” -Neil Gaiman

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What do you do when the muse is silent? Comment and let me know!

The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

Cover Reveal: Portal Rift

Early this morning I received an email from my publisher saying, ”
Find attached the cover draft from our artist….Hopefully, we have  managed to capture the essence of your story in this cover. When you have a moment, could you have a look and let me know your thoughts?”

Personally I love it. What do you all think?

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The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Burst: A Photo Collage

 

 

The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Casa El Pelaire: A Hotel for Writers

Have you ever wanted to escape from it all and just  write?  Would you like to spend time in a peaceful place that inspires creation? Well, look no further because Casa El Pelaire, in the village of Perarrúa on the Esera River of  northern Spain, is just for you!

Hotel Exterior

When I was planning my summer trip to Spain, I searched high and low for a place that would provide the best backdrop for  writing. I wanted a quiet place in a small village that also had enough artistic flair to inspire my next novel. Since my Artania series features art history,  I needed places where I’d learn about Spanish artists. And when I saw Casa El Pelairie’s website I knew that it was the one.

And I was right. Those days at this Gaudi inspired hotel in the tiny village of Perarrua were absolutely unique.  Each room is individually designed with names like Amanacer (sunrise), Spring, Sakura, and Mare Nostrum which I stayed in.

When I entered my room, it was like stepping through an artist’s doorway. With seashells covering the shower wall, beds shaped like the ocean waves, and murals of the Mediterranean coastline on the wall, wonder waited in every corner.

 

But the beauty didn’t end there. Oh no. In addition, the kind owner owner greeted me with the peacefulness of a Buddhist monk, patiently helping me to find whatever adventure interested me. Whether it’s hiking in the nearby forest, river rafting, or simply strolling through nearby towns to see Spanish architecture, Javier was there to help me out.

Every morning I would rise, grab my computer, and skip down the stairs to the breakfast room. Here the peaceful owner, Javier, greeted me with a freshly made cafe con leche and a plate of cheeses, fruits, tomatoes, and eggs. Then in the quiet of the early morning, I’d look around and dream.

 

Later, when I had run out of ideas I’d  walk upstairs to my room admiring the sculpted light fixtures, statues, and broken mirrored tile reliefs skirt the stairway.

 

Then I’d explore the surroundings areas where travelers canoed, cycled, hiked, or rode horses. I trekked to medieval churches and monasteries, strolled the lonely river, and trudged up the mountain to view the wonder Pre-Pyreneees.  And little by little I started to find the new book.

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Royal Monastery of San Juan de la Pena

 

How did such a gem of a hotel come to be? According to their website, Casa El Pelaire, this was brother and sister Javier and Ana Diaz Calvo’s lifelong dream. The pair wanted to create a space where the artisan ensures that the dreams of his neighbors are deepened.  That caring spirit is evidenced in every square inch of this lovely hotel.

Casa El Pelaire, a one-of-a-kind hotel.

 

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

 

She Gets Me! Thrilled by Recent Review

 

Recently The Online Book Club posted an official review of of Dragon Sky which got me all choked up. This reviewer, kandscreeley, not only understood the message of Artania, but she also likened it to Harry Potter.

Feeling such gratitude I could hug everyone!

Her post is here. Official Review

 

 

 

 

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California.

Believing in Yourself

Am I good enough?  As a writer there are many times when I doubt my abilities. Times I wonder if the words I write touch anything in others.  Times I fear that my work is too different to be understood. Are they simply the ramblings of a lady who sees the world through a very strange lens?

And then I shout to myself, STOP!

Truth be told, being different is a gift. There is no one who sees the world like me. No one who writes like me. No one who puts the sentences together on the page like me.

That is the wonder of being human.

As is true for everyone.

I once went to a writing workshop hosted by screenwriter, novelist, and radio talk show host, Dave Congalton. After depressing the class with a sobering list of statistics about the slim chances of getting a book deal, he paused. Then he said something that has stuck with me ever since.

Dave said, “I may not have a blockbuster idea or a New York Times bestseller material. But I do have stories I can share. Stories that are uniquely mine. And I am not going to let some publishing-house gatekeeper keep me from sharing them. ”

He then went on to outline his process of self-publishing his book Ho Ho: The Dog Who Saved Christmas and the joy he felt in finally having his story in print.

I was inspired.

Later that year I began the process of self-publishing my first novel, Forest Secrets. It took months of hard work, rewrites, editorial consults, and quite a bit of money.  When I finally held that book in my hands and ran fingers over the smooth over, a lifelong dream came true.

That is the moment I return to in times of doubt. Yes, I am different. No, I have not made the New York Times bestseller list. But I believe in myself.

As should you.

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California.

My First Audio Book!

A few months back I was out to lunch with some author friends of mine talking shop. I’m always interested in new ways my colleagues might be sharing their work and was excited when several told me that Audible is not only easy, but affordable. And it helped to get a wider audience for books.

So I decided to give it a try.

I was surprised how pain free the process was. All I had to do was create a script, post a job on the ACX website, and wait for the audition tapes to come in.

And I tell you that when the auditions began to arrive I was a giddy kid. It was thrilling to hear the different ways that various actors interpreted Artania. One man made if very goofy and silly, a bit like Dr. Seuss. Another had a  raspy voice, nearly whispering each word.

But the actor I liked the best was K. C. Wayman. His deep rich voice reminded me of classically trained actors such as Kenneth Branagh, Patrick Stewart, or Lawrence Oliver. I approached him with an offer, which he soon accepted.

And we were off.

Within weeks I was able to sit back, close my eyes, and experience Artania: The Pharaoh’s Cry  in a whole new way.  For me it was an unmatched thrill.

How did he do? Give this sample a listen and decide for yourself.

Review of Number the Stars

Do people stand up to fascism? Who can find hope when their people are disappearing right and left? How does a single child survive a human-made holocaust? These are the types of questions Danes had to deal with during World War II. And their answer is found in Lois Lowry’s poignant novel, Number the Stars.

Number the Stars  is the story of two 10 year old friends, AnneMarie and Ellen, who live in Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1943. The story is told by the Christian, girl AnneMarie, as she watches what happens to her Jewish friend, Ellen, when the Nazis gain power. The events seem innocuous  until one day some friends of the family disappear, and their business is shut down, as the Nazi “relocation” of the Danish Jews gets underway.  What ensues is a heroic adventure that reminds us all of the best and the worst in humanity.

Not only moving, but educational, Lowry’s book is based on real events of the evacuation of Danish Jews from Copenhagen during WWII. It is heartening to hear that when the Nazis threatened to relocate all the Jews in Denmark, the Danish people came to their aid and smuggled almost the entire Jewish population, nearly 7,000 people, to the safety of Sweden.

If only all peoples could band together like this. Just imagine.

Highly recommended.

A teacher, Laurie Woodward is the author of  several novels including Forest Secrets, and the fantasy series The Artania ChroniclesShe also cowrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes her novels on the Central Coast of California.

My First Live Interview!

Last week I had the profound honor of being a guest on Dave Congalton’s radio program,  “Hometown Radio with Dave Congalton.”  Although I’ve known Dave for years: he’s long been one of my writing mentor’s as well as a fellow Nipomoite,  this was the first time I’d had the pleasure of joining him on the air.

Listen to Interview

What was it like? Terrifying, at first. I mean it wasn’t like other interviews I’d done that were taped and could be edited if I made a mistake. This would be LIVE and if I blew it, there was no rewind and re-record button.  My heart was pounding and I had the strongest desire to run right out of that studio and head for the safety of home when I slipped on those headphones and faced that microphone.

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But I fought through the fear and stayed.

Dave, ever the consummate professional, must deal with guest nerves all of the time because he seemed to know just what to say to help me with my pre-interview jitters. Before we started recording he helped me relax  with a few warm up questions. These were so easy to answer that by the time the microphone was turned on, what I thought would have been absolute torture turned into a friendly chat between friends.

And before I knew it, our thirty minutes was up.

In addition to hosting a popular radio show for the past 26 years, Dave Congalton is a screenwriter, producer,  former director of the Central Coast Writer’s Conference, and award-winning author.  His books include Three Cats, Two Dogs: One Journey Through Multiple Pet Loss, When Your Pet Outlives You: Protecting Animal Companions After You Die, with co-author Charlotte Alexander and The Talk Radio Guest Book with co-author Deborah Bayles. His screenplay, Author’s Anonymous, starring Kaley Cuoco and directed by Ellie Kanner was released as a major film in 2014.

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Thank you Dave for this amazing opportunity!

For more information about Dave see: http://davidcongalton.com/# or http://www.920kvec.com/

A teacher, Laurie Woodward is the author of  several novels including Forest Secrets, and the fantasy series The Artania ChroniclesShe also cowrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes her novels on the Central Coast of California.